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Belonging by
Paperback $18.95
Aug 05, 2008 | ISBN 9781556437120

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“Niloufar Talebi’s accomplishment in gathering the poetry of the Iranian diaspora is unprecedented and breathtaking. It is as if she has, by force of commitment and vision, and by way of cultural hunger, bequeathed a new literary heritage to Iran and the world. Here is a lyric symphony of utterance in the voices of exiles, immigrants, refugees, and expatriates. That Talebi assembled such an extraordinary collection is impressive enough—that she translated most of these poems herself is nothing short of remarkable.”
—Carolyn Forché, editor of Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness

“In Belonging, with literary skill and passion, Niloufar Talebi has made a major contribution to the recognition of contemporary Iranian literature in the West, to the appreciation of diaspora poetry by Persian speakers everywhere, and to the important project of producing good translations from rich but underrepresented literary canons for the anglophone reader.”
—Nahid Mozaffari, editor of the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature

“Poetry is a world art because of brilliant editors and translators like Niloufar Talebi … Here are the poets, in all their power, defiance, dignity, wildness, and lyric grace, scattered across the earth, yet united in this book. Here is proof that poetry humanizes: now contemporary Persian culture has a face, and the Persian tongue a voice, for those of us in the English-speaking world, and we are all richer for it.”
—Martín Espada, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Republic of Poetry

“After reading her introduction and the first few sections of Belonging, I realized that Talebi had accomplished perhaps the greatest service that a translator of Iranian poetry for American audiences can provide: she made the Iranian poetic landscape feel familiar. Not only familiar, but modern, full of laughter, rich with wonder, completely joyful and terrible and worthy of revisiting multiple times.”
—Peter Conners, Three Percent

“Niloufar Talebi has accomplished the ultimate magic trick in her clean and modern translation. She has made the work of modern Persian poets read like original English … an unparalled contribution.”
—Willis Barnstone, author of With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires

“The poems speak of lost places and missing people; of the fear and freedom that come with new surroundings; of love, sex, and passion; of prison and protest; of the commonplace and the universal; and of subjects classical, political, and taboo… In form and imagery these poems often allude to works of Persian classical literature, but they are also the heirs of Rimbaud, Lorca, Dante, Shakespeare, and the literatures of adopted countries… Talebi’s translation process included thorough review and collaboration with the poets themselves… While one can always find phrases with which to quibble, the translations are of consistently high quality… not only do the poems work in English, but they adhere closely to the originals in tone, content, and format.”
Harvard Review Online Journal

“If you will trust me though, and don’t want to read my justification, you can know that this is simply one of those books you need to have on your shelves, one you can look for and find at a party, and hand to one of your closer American friends and smilingly say, ‘Here Bradley, this will explain everything!’”

“This collection is impressive by making a good sample of contemporary Iranian poets in the diaspora so beautifully accessible to English readers and by presenting them so deservingly as a part of world literature today.”
World Literature Today Magazine

Table Of Contents

Introduction xiii
Notes on Selection xxiii
Notes on Translation xxv
Amir-Hossein Afrasiabi, b. 1934 (The Netherlands)
Red Rose 1
Red Rose 2
The Grayest Port
Two Poems
Mina Assadi, b. 1943 (Sweden)
Yearning for Saari 1
Sketch 4
Sketch 13
Sketch 25
Waking Dreams 3
Waking Dreams 6
Waking Dreams 7
Because of Boredom 21
Nader Naderpour, 1929—2000 (U.S.)
Conversation in the Dark
Point and Line
Yadollah Roya’i, b. 1932 (France)
Name Stone
Bosom Stones (3)
Lipbrimmings (4)
Esma’il Kho’i, b. 1938 (U.K.)
To the Aged Mulberry Branch
In a Thousand Years
Image of Kindness
Partow Nooriala, b. 1946 (U.S.)
Many Happy Returns
Four Springs
Majid Naficy, b. 1952 (U.S.)
Narcissus Flower
To a Snail
Abbas Saffari, b. 1951 (U.S.)
A Bird Is a Bird
Saturday Night Dinner
Tanka for Loneliness
Reza Farmand, b. 1956 (Denmark)
My Mother Did Not Become Beautiful (excerpt)
Saghi Ghahraman, b. 1957 (Canada)
The Dead Dear One
I Hang Myself
Jamshid Moshkani, b. 1958 (Sweden)
Book of Fears 1
Book of Fears 27
Book of Fears 30
Book of Fears 41
Book of Fears 45
Behzad Keshmiripour, b. 1958 (Germany)
If You Danced the Wind
Barefoot on Nightvelvet
Shahrouz Rashid, b. 1960 (Germany/U.S.)
Seasonless Years (excerpt)
Downfall on the Horizon (excerpt)
Icarus (excerpt)
Letter to Father
Naanaam, b. 1966 (Canada)
Untitled 19
One Must Not Sleep with Juliet and Not Be Romeo 37
AntiPoem 2
Granaz Moussavi, b. 1973 (Australia)
Moving Sale
Song of a Forbidden Woman
Ziba Karbassi, b. 1974 (U.K.)
Love Is Lemony
Song of Ruin
Maryam Huleh, b. 1978 (Sweden)
The Sticky Dream of a Banished Butterfly (excerpt)
Mana Aghaee, b. 1973 (Sweden)
My Death
Come What May
Woman Seeking Man
Partial List of Iranian Poets around the World

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